Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Review Fusion #3

I am happy to have another Review Fusion post for you today!  It's been a while since the last one, so I'll quickly re-introduce this concept.  These eclectic, multi-author review posts are my way of highlighting guest reviews and incredible stand-alone pictures that have been sent to me.

These posts tend to produce unique and unexpected combinations of dolls and toys.  For example, today I have a great review of the new My Life As Camping set for 18-inch dolls, an in-depth look at a rare Sabrina the Animated Series fashion doll, and a mix of little blind box goodies (including Shopkins and Unicornos) that I have accumulated myself in recent weeks.

To start things off, though, I want to share a spectacular photo taken by my friend Séverine.  Séverine and I have been chatting on and off about action figure dolls lately (my newest obsession...), and she happens to own my grail doll in this category: Hot Toys' Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow.  Look at how incredibly alive this doll seems--even compared to the awesomely detailed McFarlane Daryl Dixon:

The Avengers Black Widow by Hot Toys.
Photograph by Severine, used with permission.
Here's another one of Séverine's Black Widow pictures, just in case you're like me and can't get over how amazing this doll is:

Black Widow with her Doctor backup.
Photograph by Severine, used with permission.
Now, let's get started with these great reviews!  My first guest is Noelle, an American Girl and Monster High fan who emailed me wanting to write a guest review of the My Life As Camping Set.  With the holiday season rapidly approaching, I think information about the larger 18 inch doll accessory sets is especially valuable.  This review was great for me, personally, because although I have seen some neat new Our Generation and Journey Girl products lately, I have yet to see any new My Life As accessory sets in the stores.  I will let Noelle take over and tell you what she's learned about this large camping set!

Hi there! My name is Noelle and I'm so thankful that Emily let me write this review on her awesome blog. I'll be reviewing the My Life As Camping Set.  I found this set at Walmart, siting with two more of its kind on an otherwise empty bottom shelf. Usually when I'm browsing the toy aisles, I skip over the My Life As collection, since the Madam Alexander faces do nothing for me. But, remembering Emily's review about the new My Life As faces and manufacturer, I gave the dolls a second glance.

On the bottommost shelf, the Camping Set sat in a colorful box, with a price tag of $21.99.  Placing the set in the shopping cart, I anticipated the hours of play and photography it could bring me.

I think the box art is very appealing:

My Life As Camping Set
The back of the box.
The back of the box advertises the presence of a tent, an ice chest, a working lantern, a camp chair and a fire pit.

The side of the box was only held shut with three pieces of tape, and once I cut them, the cardboard insert slid right out.

All of the pieces came attached to a pink cardboard insert:

The tent poles were securely plastic-tied to the back of the cardboard insert, and the rest of the items were stuck in pretty well, too.

I simply had to cut the ties and plastic to remove all the items from the box...

...but not without leaving little holes in everything. Sigh.

Here's the folding camp chair:

The chair is great quality, with sturdy plastic. My only concern is that the seams in the fabric appear to be loosening.

Here's Ava, my American Girl Doll, for size reference. The chair is a little on the small side for her.

My Life As Camping Set

Here's the lantern:

The lantern is cool. It does turn on, but only stays on when you hold the button. Not so great for photography. Oh well.

Here's the purple cooler:

This ice chest is absolutely awesome. The plastic is a little thin, but I think it'll last.

And here's a picture of Ava with the lantern and ice chest for size reference:

My Life As Camping Set

The fire pit is pretty cool, but I wish it could light up or something. That would have been even better:

Having laid the tent to the side (frankly, because it was intimidating), I finally decided to try to put it together. I took it outside, where I would have more room to work.

I connected the six tent poles to make two long poles and tried to fit the poles into the purple casing on the tent, like it described in the instructions.

It was pretty easy...

...until I got to the end. There's this little pocket-thing that I had to push the rod into, and it took lots of finger power. Ouch.

When I finally finished with the rods, the tent was done. It is made out of a somewhat see-through mesh material, which is good for trying to photograph dolls inside the tent, but does not contribute much to its weight. The tent threatened to blow away several times as I took pictures.

The tent doors are held closed with two pieces of Velcro, one in between the flaps, and one on the bottom of the tent.

The rods I had to slide in criss-cross at the top to make the tent more sturdy:

Here are some more pictures for size relativity. The tent is large and can sleep three dolls.

My Life As Camping Set

My Life As Camping Set
Here's one more picture of the tent:

My Life As Camping Set

This set is very satisfying and I'm glad I bought it. I'm not sure how long the cooler will hold up, but otherwise everything is sturdy. I'm very impressed.

Thank you, Noelle!  That huge tent looks especially fun to me.  :)

My next guest is Kady, a college senior who is looking forward to entering a public health or medical field after she graduates.  Kady has diverse doll interests, but her primary focus is on "magical girl" characters like Sailor Moon, W.I.T.C.H. and Winx Club.  In addition to doll collecting, Kady enjoys sewing and has done an impressive amount of fanfiction writing. You can find links to some of Kady's stories here, but please be advised that fanfiction material is not always appropriate for younger audiences.  It's been a treat for me to chat with Kady, and I think you will enjoy the unusual and charismatic Sabrina doll that she has chosen to review.  Over to you, Kady!

First, I'd like to say thank you for allowing me to guest review for your site, Emily. :)
When I was eight years old I spent countless hours on my bum watching cartoons and swinging on the swing set. But mostly it was the toons. PokemonSailor Moon, and The Powerpuff Girls were among my favorites. My favorite, however, was the cartoon companion to Sabrina the Teenage WitchSabrina the Animated Series.

Screen capture of Sabrina and Salem (the cat) taken from the linked clip.
Like the live action Sabrina, "Animated" was based off the original comic book version of the Sabrina Spellman character (although both series had their own specified comic as well). Also like the live action version, Melissa Joan Hart played a role in the animated series.  In the cartoon she voiced Sabrina's aunts, Hilda and Zelda. In fact, it was Melissa's little sister Emily that voiced the twelve-year-old version of the teenage witch.

I enjoyed the Melissa-as-Sabrina version as much as the next kid but I'd make every opportunity possible to watch the cartoon after school. If I arrived home before it aired, I'd work on my homework then watch it. If it aired right after I stepped off the bus, that homework had to wait for thirty minutes. I collected the comics and the toys for it. I specifically recall receiving a Salem plushie for my eighth birthday that definitely earned a worthy place near my bed.

One item I never acquired, however, was a Sabrina fashion doll. I'd see it on store shelves occasionally shortly after 2000 began (especially K-Mart for some reason; must be those blue light specials). My attempts to get it always proved fruitless. I could never manage to convince my mother to buy it for me. "Put it on the [insert special occasion here] list and we'll see," she'd always say. Easter passed, as did my August birthday. By then, however, the show neared if not finished its run and the doll vanished. I soothed my dolly loss with the Irwin Sailor Moon runs and a live action Sabrina and Harvey set for the next couple years.

But I never forgot. When I began recollecting dolls last year, Sabrina Spellman (especially the 2000 animated version) remained an item high on my wishlist. I'd cruise eBay and while they weren't too expensive, most weren't in good condition or my desire to add another Sailor Moon or Winx doll grew too strong. Late September of this year, however, I found a lot that included a long lost Salem plushie and the Sabrina doll mint in box. After a brief bidding war I won with a price for both that tallied lower than either toy goes for solo on the site.  I promptly paid and waited until half a week later until the package arrived on the doorstep.

My inner child cried with joy as I sliced open the converted Minute Maid twelve pack box that contained my latest treasures. Salem arrived dusty, but otherwise fully intact and looking as fresh as he did nearly fifteen years ago.  I cut him free and set him aside on my bed and refocused my attention on the star of this review.

Like the other merchandise packing, Sabrina is in a pink and lilac-lavender box, making the color scheme a dream come true for Mariah Carey.

Sabrina herself is on the box, as is a merchandising picture of Sabrina holding a flower and standing back to back with Salem that I never quite understood:

Flowers were never a major component of the show (unlike the magical girl anime Hana no ko Lun Lun) so even at age eight I wondered why flowers were present in most of the packaging. It's girly perhaps? *shrugs*

The rest of the outer packing includes other pictures of Sabrina and Salem, including the logo on top. The back contains a little recap of what the story is about and who the other characters in the series are.  This is probably for the new fans and perplexed parents that may or may not be worried to some degree that their little girl is about to join the dark side over a cartoon doll.

Since it's hard to see, here's what the box's series synopsis says for those curious:

Sabrina Spellman is a typical seventh-grader with one little secret: She's a half witch, half mortal. She won't become magically empowered until she's 16, but when you're 12 years old, sometimes you could use a little magical boost to get you through the day. When she discovers that it's possible to "borrow" spells from teenage aunts, Hilda and Zelda, she dips her hand into the Spookie Jar, where ready-made spells don't come with owner's manuals, so Sabrina inevitably finds herself in over her head. But what's a young witch to do when her pals or aunts need help?

Yep, that's more or less the series. Just happens to omit that this show references everything from Monty Python to Rocky Horror Picture Show and that Weird Al Yankovic makes a cameo in one episode. Otherwise, not too far off.

Sadly, while figurines of all the characters featured and more exist, this was the only fashion doll created for the series. Shame, because a Salem figure proportioned for Sabrina at least would've been wonderful. The live action Sabrina dolls had one included in a couple editions, but they were from Kenner while the animated version doll was from Play Along.

Now, let's begin with Sabrina herself. She's a prime example of why "in box" is not necessarily good for dolls. I didn't even have to get her out of the box and her hair was already experiencing a bad day. Most likely this is from age, but still. If I was an in-box collector I'd be super annoyed.

Luckily most of the packaging was easy to separate.

Sabrina and her accessories are held prisoner by both easy twist ties and not-as-easy strings and tapes taped to the box. Most were easy to snip away without ruining the packaging, except for the one holding her witch outfit against the cardboard. I had to wind up cutting the bottom tab off, then try to snip and slide off:

Sabrina comes with a broom complete with handle, a witch hat, and a witch dress/robe.

Here's a closer look at her face and hair:

You know what? I need to stop for a sec and brush this poor girl's hair before I move on.

Much better!
Like many western cartoon dolls, Sabrina heavily resembles her animated counterpart. The side facing eyes are a slightly strange choice to me but she still looks sweet faced as ever. I can't help but smile when I look at her, and it's not solely because of nostalgia. I'm not very good at telling what material her hair is made of, but the top layers are more gelled and harder than the bottom in order to keep her side bang intact as much as possible. The bottom (everything past the back of her head) is not super soft and silky, but it's much more pleasing to the touch than the heavily styled parts are. Brush styling is not too difficult.

Her signature star and moon earrings are on the correct sides of her face and molded on. The pink barrettes (mostly obscured by the stray locks I had to brush) are molded into one piece on what appears to be a post:

I declined playing with them further because she's an older doll. Definitely not the oldest in my collection (that'd be a straight-leg Skipper from the 1960s) but with age, even light handling can cause an older doll's clothes to flake (my nearly 20 year old Queen Beryl) or have that nasty complication where the knees do not click-in fully (a 2000 Irwin Sailor Moon doll I used for a custom).

Sabrina comes wearing her main outfit from the show. It's slightly shiny versus the cotton or poly-cotton I imagined on her, but still looks accurate enough for a toy depiction. The bottom is lined for some reason with a hot pink netting. It doesn't make placing on easier, so I feel it's excessive.

The witch outfit, like everything else, is show accurate. To be precise, it appeared in the episode "Nothin' Says Lovin' Like Somethin' From a Coven." (I dare you to say that five times fast!) It's made from a slightly slinky polyester. Not quite lining fabric, but similar. Like Sabrina's everyday clothes it attaches via velcro. Getting the outfit on Sabrina proved initially difficult until I realized that the thread that kept the dress on the packaging hadn't been fully removed. Afterwards I could slip it on and off with far less trouble.

The included hat has elastic to keep it on, but it will stay atop her head as long as you're keeping her displayed and don't touch her much. It's made of a similar material as the dress but with some slightly bulky interfacing or very thin felt keeping it "stiff."

Now let's get to posing. Even though I usually display my dolls as if they're about to take a class picture, a little fun with the movement often benefits pictures and the collector's amusement.

Even in the witch costume she can sit down properly:

Sabrina's right arm is permanently molded into a bend. Both arms, however, can move 360 degrees. As shown earlier she can also hold her broom quite well unless it's touched while swinging.

Her elbows can't pose but her knees can slightly. She can also twist her torso at the waist.

Her neck posing's limited. You can cock it side to side but not forward or backward too well. The second pic is the best tilt I could do without potentially, forcefully beheading her.

Sabrina is at an unique height for girl dolls. Forgive me for this, but as in the Britney Spears song, she's not a girl and not yet a woman in terms of height. Unlike most preteen dolls (Skipper, Monster High sisters, Licca) she's an inch taller.

11.5" Irwin Sailor Moon, 10" Sabrina, 9" Disney Store Will Vandom, 7" Trendmasters summer school Sakura,
6" Bandai Japan Usagi Tsukino.
11.5" Irwin Sailor Moon, 10" Sabrina, 9" Disney Store Will Vandom, 7" Trendmasters summer school Sakura,
6" Bandai Japan Usagi Tsukino.

Consequently, Sabrina's slightly larger than most dolls at her age. Her body mold reminds me most of the Japanese Licca dolls, only with a more extreme hourglass shape to her waist.

Because of her strange mold I sadly cannot recommend any brand clothes that will fit her. I let her borrow Disney Store Irma's civilian top but I could barely get it closed because of her chest.

As for Licca?

Sabrina (left) and Sweets Paradise Licca by Takara-Tomy.
Sabrina wearing Licca's shoes.
Sabrina (left) trying to wear Sweets Paradise Licca's dress.
Yeah, not gonna happen.

Sabrina can't even get the dress past her hips. Strangely, Licca can wear Sabrina's clothes for the most part. But then again she can also wear Blythe, Pullip, and certain Skipper too if I remember correctly. Good ol' Licca.

Allow me to take the time right now and tell you that Sabrina's included shoes were a pain to remove and place back on and I consequently advise against doing so yourself. The closest I've found to fitting so far are Licca shoes (above) but even those are way too loose in the back. Licca shoes are not cheap for non-Japanese consumers, anyway.

Even with these setbacks, do I regret purchasing Sabrina? Definitely not! Yes, even if I bought her for play now I wouldn't regret it. One of the main reasons I've always loved dolls, especially those of cartoon characters, and got back to collecting was because they were the closest to permanent versions of the characters themselves. Cosplay is close, but it's only temporary. A doll or figure really is the best if you want a good representation or to design the character to your preference. This Sabrina is very close to the animated witch I fangirled over at eight and felt nostalgia over in my teens and twenties. Besides, at her age she's more a collector's item and for that reason I wouldn't advocate giving her to a child now.  But for display, very light play and nostalgia reasons? She's totally worth it.

Thank you, Kady!  I love Sabrina's face, and I also really liked seeing your doll lineup--it's so different from mine!  You have a great collection.

I try to have three guest reviews within a Review Fusion post, but since there are no other guest reviews ready at the moment, I decided to share with you some of the little blind box toys I have accumulated in the past month.  I am always tempted by inexpensive little surprise items, but at this time of year they have a special appeal since I've got my eye out for that perfect stocking stuffer.

Here's my little collection of goodies:

Two Tokidoki Unicorno toys, Kinder Surprise eggs, and Shopkins baskets.
I will start by opening the Shopkins baskets.  I have been really curious about these toys because they appear to be extremely popular--at least based on the typical appearance of the Shopkins display at my Toys R Us:

About two weeks ago, however, this display was fully re-stocked and it continues to have a pretty good selection.  I decided to start by just purchasing two of the little $2.99 basket sets:

Each of these sets includes a plastic shopping basket and two surprise Shopkins figures.  The baskets are wrapped in plastic with a layer of decorative cardboard underneath:

The cardboard has to be ripped to get it over the handles of the basket.  

Inside the basket, there are two bright yellow pouches concealing the Shopkins figures:

There's also a pamphlet with all of the available Shopkins listed so that you can identify which ones you got.

The first figure I got is....

Well, it looks like a strange cross between a coffee bean and an exotic bug.  Maybe it's a hot dog?  Let's take a closer look:

A jelly bean with frosting?

It definitely looks like a coffee bean or a baked bean (or maybe a little sausage?), but then it has ice cream or frosting on its head. And it's holding a squirt of ice cream or something, too.  Hm.  It's very cute, and seems a little shy:

A shy-but-artistic cocktail sausage?
Let's look it up on the sheet:

It's in the bakery section and named "Creamy Bun-Bun." That doesn't really help me very much, but I guess it's some sort of pastry.  Ok.  Moving on!

This one's a little easier.  It looks like laundry detergent, bleach, or toothpaste:

The little mint leaf decoration makes me think toothpaste.  

Even though the side of the figure is leaning more toward toilet bowl cleaner...

...and the face has rabbit teeth:

The name doesn't help much with identification in this case, either (this character is just called "Scrubs").  However, since we're in the Health and Beauty section with this one, I'm gonna stick with toothpaste...although I'm pretty sure people don't "scrub" their teeth (do they?).

The basket might be the best part of the set.  It's made out of blue plastic and has moving handles.  It looks just like a real shopping basket, except that the ones we have around here tend to be green or red.

A friend told me that the baskets from these sets are perfect for 12-inch fashion dolls, so I immediately wanted to try one out with Midge:

The basket really is great for this size of doll, however the Shopkins products are not as realistic as their baskets...

Hmm...what's in here??
Minty-fresh toilet bowl cleaner!
Let's take a quick peek at the other basket I bought.  I was going to save this one, I really was, but I can never manage to resist the temptation of opening little toys like this.  Sigh.

The second basket contained the unlikely (but practical) pairing of a frosted doughnut...and a toothbrush.  

The doughnut has a pink frosted side with glitter, sprinkles and blue hearts:

There's an uneven seam along her side where the pink frosting ends and the pale doughnut becomes visible:


The doughnut is named "D'lish Donut."  

That's pretty straight-forward.
The toothbrush is blue and reminds me of a bird:

Tweet, tweet!
It has a smear of blue toothpaste on the bristles and is holding what I think is a water cup in its left peg-like wing hand:

The toothbrush and the toothpaste make a nice pair, except for the fact that the toothbrush is wearing blue toothpaste and the tube is advertising white paste.  

Scrubs, we need to talk...
The toothbrush's name is "Toofs," which I think is awesome.

The Shopkins are cute, but I am most impressed with the blue plastic baskets they're packaged in.  I think the main appeal of these toys (aside from the delightful surprise of not knowing which one you'll get...and then maybe not even knowing what it is once you get it...) is the thrill of trying to collect certain characters.  I looked through the catalogue of all available Shopkins, trying to find the one I'd want the most if I was going to keep collecting. 

After a short deliberation, I decided that my favorite of the whole bunch is "Googy," a vulnerable-looking cracked egg.  Googy's name makes me smile, and he/she comes in two colors, white and yellow: 

I think the yellow Googy is officially my favorite Shopkin of Series 1:

One last note about these toys: the only disappointment I had with the Shopkins baskets is that they can't really stack in a nested way like real shopping baskets:

The second surprise toy I want to share with you is this set of Kinder Surprise eggs.  These are a treasured gift from a friend overseas:

This particular set is "for girls," and features little horses and flower dolls that look wonderful:

I hope I get that doll!!
There were three eggs in this box:

Each chocolate egg contains a small yellow capsule that protects the toy:

The first toy I opened was...

One of the flower dolls!  Yay!

The doll came in four parts.  I followed the simple directions to get her assembled:

Flowee doll mini

The doll has a two-piece green stand, a fabric flower skirt, and a plastic torso and head:

This doll's lip paint is very pale and hard to see, but her green eyes are nicely painted and bright:

Flowee doll mini

The neat thing about this doll is that if you reach under her skirt and slide the "sepal" (the green part at the bottom of the flower) upwards....

Flowee doll mini

..the doll is suddenly concealed within a closed flower.  It's a very simple effect, but it looks great.

The leaflet that comes with the doll advertises her as a "Flowee" mini, and shows all of the other available girls:

I love the orange one!
I figured that if this was a Flowee mini, there might be full-sized Flowee dolls available on the market.  Indeed, a quick internet search revealed that there are larger dolls under this label, too (made by Simba).  The larger Flowee girls look really pretty and have elaborate petal skirts.  I might have to try and find one.

Anyway, here's the capsule from the next egg I opened:

This one looks like a pony!  

My pony came with a plastic band around his head.

A headlamp?
The simple directions revealed that this band is supposed to be a ring for me (that's not gonna fit) or a saddle for the pony (that might work):

The ring has a clover design on top:

It's tiny. 
The pony is nowhere near as cute as a My Litle Pony, but I like just about anything that has to do with horses, so I am happy:

This little guy is winking, and I actually like the closed-eye side of the face better:

He looks so happy!
The way he's sitting on his haunches is kind-of funny, though.  This is how I'd expect a dog to sit, but not a horse.

The eye is pretty big and the decal has a lot of little white spots:

It is possible to get the tiny ring onto the pony's back, but I'm not sure I really understand its purpose:

There are drawings of all of the other available ponies, and I wish I could see what shapes they all have on their rings.  My guess from the drawing is that there's a heart (pink pony), a flower (green pony), a star (purple pony)..and maybe a music note (red pony)?  Hard to tell for sure.  I like that some of the ponies are in more natural-looking poses than my sitting guy.  I especially like the rearing purple pony:

Magically delicious!
I was sad to reach my last capsule, but didn't waste any time in getting it open:

I knew right away (from the green stand) that it was another Flowee:

And she's different!  I really, really like this one's color scheme:

Flowee doll mini

She has a pretty pattern on her purple petal skirt:

Her long black hair is molded to look like it's swishing back and forth:

This girl has black hair and bangs, and she's positioned with both of her hands behind her:

Here's her flower closed up:

It's so great that even the shape of the flowers is different when they are closed.  Now I want a whole garden of these minis!  I will definitely have to look into whether I can find a larger Flowee doll to share here on the blog.

Flowee doll minis

The last little toys I opened were my two Unicorno blind boxes.  I've purchased a few of the larger figures before, but I had no idea what was in that small box:

Let's look at the big box first:

I really like the Tokidoki box decorations.  All sides of this box are colorfully decorated and fun to look at:

The series 3 characters are listed on one side of the box, and even though I try not to pick favorites, I really wanted to get Drago, Cleo or Pixie.  The back of the box has all three of these favorites featured:

The back of the box also has a short description of the Unicornos...and a large reminder of how I paid too much for this toy.  MSRP is $7.95.

The Unicornos come sealed inside foil packets:

And...I got Cleo!!  I was really happy about this.  She is awesome:

Tokidoki Unicorno Cleo

Her body is metallic gold with dark and light blue accents:

She has pretend hieroglyphics along both of her sides and a painted earring in her right ear:

Tokidoki Unicorno Cleo

Tokidoki Unicorno Cleo

Now, let's see what's in that smaller Unicorno box!  I think I paid $5.99 for this one at a local bookstore.  The box is labeled "Unicorno Frenzies," but there's no description of what's inside:

The box is beautifully decorated with little unicorns.  If there's a tiny baby Unicorno in this box, I am going to freak out.  Look at how cute the pictures are!

Once again, my suspense was prolonged by a sealed foil pack....

But it IS a baby Unicorno!  It is!  Eee!

The only bad thing is that she comes with a huge zipper pull apparatus screwed into her head:

Unicorno Frenzies
Othewise, she's just a perfect miniature Unicorno--complete with little decorations on either side of her body:

Unicorno Frenzies

The zipper pull is bulky and unattractive (and it makes the Unicorno tip over) so I decided to try and remove it.

The zipper pull can be easily unscrewed from the Unicorno's head, but it leaves behind a pretty ugly hole:

I just love mini versions of bigger things, and so I was able to get past the unattractive look of the hole and just enjoy this adorable little Unicorno.

From this collection of small figures, my favorites are the mini Flowee dolls and the Unicornos.  While the plastic Shopkins baskets are perfect as props for 12-inch fashion dolls, the toys inside didn't really inspire much excitement from me.  The Flowees and the Unicornos, however, each pair a tantalizing surprise with an attractive toy that has some staying power...a combination that I know will have me coming back for more.

Unicorno and Unicorno Frenzies


  1. Wow! I love how this turned out! Thanks for letting me write a review!

    1. Thank you for writing the review, Noelle! :) I finally saw the Camping Set today at Walmart and was thinking of you! That tent reminds me of when my kids and I used to pitch a tent in the living room and have fun games. There's just something special about a tent!

    2. Hi, Noelle! I really liked your review! It really does look like a fun little set and I'm glad you're having fun with it :)

    3. Emily- You're welcome!
      Kady the Red Panda- Thanks!

  2. What a fun post!!! I love the Unicornos. I wanted to get a Vinylmation doll at Disney, but there wasn't a collection I was really in love with there. Plus they're expensive little buggers. My parent's don't understand the surprise fad, I myself love it.
    I'm glad you gave your honest opinions about the shopkins. I didn't think they were all that much to sneeze at, but another review I saw was enamored with them.
    I've wanted a kinder surprise egg for a while now, but alas, the U. S. of A has banned them.
    The Sabrina review was really neat! I love seeing toys that are no longer on shelves. Unless of course I want them... ;)

    1. Oh, Muzzy, I am right there with you! I adore the surprise fad, but the Shopkins were not my thing. I love that there are so many different blind box/pack options out there, though. Something for everyone. I was admiring the newest tiny Lalaloopsy dolls today in the store, and wishing they came in surprise packs. They're all so cute, it would be hard to be disappointed!

      I thought I read somewhere that the Kinder Surprise egg ban was lifted in the USA recently, but maybe I am remembering wrong. I will look it up! I'd love to have them here by next Easter.

      I also have to look up Vinylmation from Disney now, too, because I'll admit that I don't know what those are! Thank you for mentioning them! :)

  3. Hi Emily,
    What a fun post. We also have kinder eggs here in Israel (they are slightly different but also have mini toys) and I can send you a box if you want. you can e-mail me for your address.
    I went back and re-read some of your reviews and discovered you purchased a Tulabelle but haven't reviewed her yet. Do you think you will? I love fashion dolls and loved your Poppy reviews.
    Great review as always.

    1. Hi Tali! You are so sweet to offer me a Kinder Surprise egg from Israel! It might be illegal to import them, though, so I'd better check. :/

      I do have a Tulabelle doll from last year--yes! I keep putting off her review. I peeked at her face and didn't really like her at first glance, so thought I might sell her. However, I looked at her again last week and she seemed much more attractive. Thank you for reminding me about her! That would be a fun review. :)

    2. Hi again,
      We actually have quite a few different brands of surprise eggs here. The Kinder surprise eggs are actually a little different than the ones you reviewed. The egg splits into two seperate parts - one contains the chocolate treat, the other contains the toy, so no accidental swallowing of the capsule can accure. I can actually send you only the half containing the toy - so no danger of it being illegal to import - let me know.

      It seems strange though that other types of toys of a tiny scale are sold in US toy stores while the Kinder eggs are banned. Should'nt parents be able to make an informed decision about the appropriate toys for their kids' age? Just an interesting thought to add to the discussion.
      If you would like I can send you a review of several different brands of surprise eggs that we have here and their toys - a comparison.

    3. The tiny-ness of the toys isn't the problem, it's that the US has a ban against non-edible things inside edible things. When you look at Kindereggs, it's hard to believe that anyone, even a kid, would try to eat the capsule or the toy, but you must have a similar law in Israel, and that's why the chocolate and the toy are separate in the egg. The ban makes sense for other types of food, where the inedible part is more easily accidentally ingested. I hope we can have Kinder eggs here soon--or something similar, like the ones you mentioned. Start importing them! I'd buy. ;)

  4. This was so much fun -- reading it was like having all the fun of unwrapping lots of holiday presents without the commitment of wanting specific things.

    I especially appreciate the review of Sabrina. It's hard to find information on older dolls that aren't yet "vintage."

  5. Love seeing such vastly different styles of toy in one review!

    I totally get the appeal of blind box figures - I'm always dragging myself away from them since I imagine that if I start buying them I'll soon be drowning in the things, since I've always loved them and never want to throw them out - I even think I still have a box of 20+ year-old KinderSurprise toys somewhere... ;)

  6. I remember myself as a child loving the Sabrina series......and the doll is adorable! good job on writing the review!!! BTW can anyone tell me how the movie where sabrina was stuck with one of her enemies in an amusment park called like??? and the one which she suddenly grew up???

  7. I LOVE IT! Scarlet with the boys was great, the unicorns were great, it was all great!

  8. i actually have the pink purple and orange flowee minis!

  9. I have always yearned for Kinder-eggs. I just cannot understand why USA won't sell them but will lace our food with GMO's that European countries have banned. *sigh* And now, I must find Unicornos. Those are just TOO cute! I love unicorns and have a small collection, so adding these is a must do. :)

    The action figurine is also very cool, though I admit I never saw the movie. But it looks just like the actress, only in mini version.

    I don't know if any of my kids ever watched the animated Sabrina series. I don't remember it at all but the doll is cute and looks like the box drawing.

    Oh Emily, thanks for making my day with this fun, multi-directional review. Any hints as to where to find the Unicornos? Amazon is too $$$$. I bought a couple of the Shopkins a few weeks ago, but haven't opened them yet. I just wanted the baskets. The toys don't inspire me. The other surprise packs were much better.

    I also have a Breyer Mystery Foal and haven't opened it yet either. I want to gather a whole bunch of surprise packs and have an opening celebration. LOL! I already opened a MLP one (have a lot more but they are the glitter ones and I don't like them much, so will be returning them). Also opened a LPS one, as I always thought they were cute but was underwhelmed by them. It would be fun to have blind packs rfor 18" or 16" doll food accessories. They would be fun to buy and open. :)


    1. Hi Suzi! I actually found my Unicornos at a big chain bookstore. Think Geek often has them, too, but they're currently out of stock. I'd check a Borders, Barnes and Noble, or Books a Million if you have one nearby! They are super-cute and a little addictive. :)

      I like the idea of accumulating lots of surprise packs and having an opening party! I also love the idea of blind food items for 18" dolls! You're really onto something there. I would buy a lot of those!! Please let us know what your mystery foal looks like when you open it! It's bound to be cute.

      I don't get the Kinder Surprise ban, either. It'd be really, really hard to eat that capsule by accident. :/

  10. I think you have "Silky" not Scrubs, but I don'know if I'd want silky teeth xD -GEM

    1. no that's scrubs they have their names printed above them not below them

  11. Oh wow, so much cool stuff in one review!! That Scarlett Johansson doll is just stunning. So realistic. I love dolls like that. I had no idea that there was an animated series of Sabrina. I am curious about it now because I used to enjoy the TV series. The doll is very cute. I haven't seen the series or the dolls in the UK. I have seen the Shopkins on the shelves but they don't appear to be hugely popular in my kids' school. They are very similar to Moshi Monsters or the Trash Packs (groan!!), which my boys loved about a year ago. The Shopkins seem sweeter and might appeal to girls more. Those Unicorns are beyond cool :D

  12. Hi Melissa! I know exactly what you mean about trying to separate the chocolate eggs perfectly! It never works, does it?? Ahhh!!! ;D I don't even eat the eggs, though, I have to admit. I'm in too much of a hurry to get the toys. I'm sad to hear that the toys were underwhelming to you as a child. Maybe I like them so much because they're rare and hard to get here? I don't know. With the Flowee dolls, my main excitement is from the fact that I learned about a kind of doll that I had never heard of before. That's always so fun. :) Isn't the Cleo Unicorno great? I was so happy to get her! I took a hieroglyphics class in college and have always had a soft spot for this type of thing. I thought of you when I read Kady's Sabrina review, wondering if you had watched the show. It's neat that you have! I really like the doll.

  13. Thank you again for letting me guest review, Emily :)

    Those flower girl Kinder prizes look pretty dang adorable. I haven't seen much about them since they are banned in the US, but your girls look a little more advanced in terms of movement than the typical Kinder toy I've come across online.

    Is it bad that I like the shopping basket more than the little shopkins themselves? They really do look great with Barbie dolls. The little toys are cute but not enough for me to get.

  14. There's a newer version of black widow from the latest capt. america movie, but I'm sure hot toys'll make another from next year's avengers movie too. A better head sculpt is guaranteed with each new release, but they cost around US$ 200.

    You can plug your mini unicorno's hole with some sculpting clay or wax, then paint it with the same shade of pink it has, and you'll have a perfect mini unicorno.

  15. Oh, Kady, girl after my own heart! How is it that I've never seen the Sabrina show? The Sabrina doll, while a little off-putting at first, has the strange kind of charm that has enormous appeal to me. Thank you for bringing her and the show to my attention.

    Walk like an Egyptian, Cleo! You're the best! Is Donut D'lish safe? What the heck with the Shopkins? Maybe I really need smiling toilet bowl cleaner to make cleaning fun? Nah.

  16. Oh've made me recall a distant memory. My interest in gumball machine toys. I have a vague memory of what I think was a series of ingenious tiny plastic robots that came in pieces and had to be constructed. They also had that "What will it be?" suspense attached to them. Now I have to hunt these down. I'd complain that you're a "bad influence," but it's too much fun and so are your reviews..

  17. Love the pictures of Hot Toys Black Widow. I hope you will do review of her some day. You may also be interested in Phicen Stainless Steel Flexible Skeleton Seamless action figures/dolls. They are fun to pose and look very real. I will send you some pictures when I figure out how, and here is a link to my flickr group with some, in case you are interested.

    Karen, Pacific Northwest

  18. I tried to find those Flowee full sized dolls but no luck :c Do you have a link to them perhaps??

  19. lol creamy bun-bun is an eclair

  20. i saw a shopkins display at two different toys-r-us locations today, and both stores had a strange absence of the two-pack baskets. the only products were larger sets with around twelve shopkins, and play sets with two shopkins and accessories. in one of the display boxes, there was a set with a shopping cart and register, but unfortunately it wasn't for sale at that particular store.

    around ten of the shopkins are showing in the twelve-pack, while two are in the mystery shopping basket. one of the visible ones that caught my eye was the mushroom, who is apparently named "miss mushy-moo." the names ruin them for me. googy may be my favorite as well, but the name...

  21. OH.
    Do you know what that donut is?
    SHOPKINS!!!!! Aka super hard to find! I'm so jealous! I collect shopkins and I have been trying t get D'lish for so long!
    I am leaving my email because I am having trouble making a proper account